Is winter a good time to sell a home?

Is winter a good time to sell a home?

Key takeaways

  • Selling a home in the winter means facing less competition.
  • Buyers looking in winter are likely to be serious and motivated.
  • Extra time off from work for holidays offers more time to visit homes.
  • Allows you to showcase a home as warm and cozy.
  • A Cinch home warranty provides extra protection for a winter breakdown.

While some real estate agents think winter is a time to hibernate, it can actually be a terrific time to sell a house. Of course, spring is traditionally the most active real estate market, but studies show that plenty of great transactions occur during the colder months, too.

Buyers who look at homes in winter are more likely to be serious about purchasing a home rather than strolling around looking at open houses as they might in the spring. As a result, they're typically motivated to make an offer and move. The winter months have extra holidays, too, so buyers may have more time to visit homes.

On the flip side, buyers may not find much to look at – which is good for you and your sellers. In addition, less competition from other sellers can mean buyers will make an offer fast. And, since there may be fewer transactions generally in winter, yours is likely to get completed more quickly since lenders, appraisers, home inspectors and title companies are less likely to be busy.

Research on winter sales

Setting aside the wacky real estate market of the past couple of years, historically, winter sales can be lucrative. In a major study of more than seven million homes sold between 2010 and 2014, Redfin real estate brokerage found that 39% of homes sold within 30 days or less in spring, and 14% sold for more than their list price. But winter came in a close second – ahead of summer and fall – with 38% of homes sold within 30 days and 15% above list price.1

In another Redfin study, winter was the best season for selling a house. That study, which analyzed homes listed from March 22, 2011, through March 21, 2013, found that those listed in winter have a nine-percentage point greater likelihood of selling. Winter homes were selling a week faster and for 1.2 percentage points more than the list price than homes listed in any other season.2

As you know, all real estate is local. So, in markets where it's warm in winter, like Florida and Arizona, homes may sell even faster in that season. For example, a recent Zillow study found that in New York, the best week of the year for a quick sale and a sale above the list price is December 23-29.3 Even in a colder climate, a winter sale can be ideal.

Winter sales tips

To showcase a home in winter, you can emphasize the warm and cozy aspects of a home. While your sellers may be excited to decorate for the holidays, you may want to help them keep it lowkey, so they don't distract from the property's key features. And, if the garden is a big selling point, don't forget to have some photos available of the blooming season.

Your sellers may be worried about a furnace malfunctioning or an appliance breaking down in winter. A Cinch home warranty can protect your sellers while the house is listed. And buyers receive the benefit of home warranty coverage when they move in. Because Cinch has a vetted network of contractors available for covered repairs, sellers and buyers can focus on enjoying winter in a comfortable, protected home.